According to the report of the auction house in social networks, this impressive result, almost 40 times higher than the start figure, was achieved in a long struggle between two participants – from the Netherlands and the United States. The work became the most expensive lots on June 18 and brought most of the revenue, which totaled just over € 640 thousand.
The top three best sales of the auction of old masters, together with “The Man in the Beret” included an etude from the sitting lady of the Peter-Paul Rubens studio, exhibited with the esteem of € 25 thousand – € 30 thousand and sold for € 29.9 thousand, and another work by Rembrandt Studio – “Portrait of the Rabbi”, which went for € 19.5 thousand (esteem of € 15 thousand – € 20 thousand). This increased interest in the portraits of the studio, the circle, and perhaps Rembrandt himself is not accidental.
It is expected that one of the artist’s self-portraits, exhibited at the auction of old masters of Sotheby’s house on July 28, 2020, may become the most expensive work in the segment of old masters sold this summer. The “Self-Portrait” dates back to 1632 – the artist is 26 years old and recently moved to Amsterdam. It is assumed that the self-portrait was intended to show the artist’s skills as a portraitist in a new place, or perhaps with his help, Rembrandt hoped to impress the relatives of his future wife, Saskia, whom he married two years later, in 1634.
The name of the last owner of the painting is not disclosed, but it is known that it has an interesting provocation and was acquired by him in a private transaction in the Dutch gallery Noortman Master Paintings. Over the years, “Self-Portrait” managed to visit and at the auction: the last time the painting was sold at the auction Sotheby’s in 1970 for £ 650 to the collector JO Ligenhoek in Paris. The Self-Portrait has also been shown in museums on numerous occasions, including the Amsterdam State Museum in 1997 and the London National Gallery in 1999.
In the first half of the 20th century the painting was inclined to be considered work by the artist’s studio, but today Rembrandt’s work is undeniably proven and Self-Portrait remains one of his last works of this level in private hands. That is why experts believe that the announced aesthetics of the work £12 million – £16 million ($15 million – $20 million) is quite justified and the work will be sold.
It is possible that the story of “The Man in the Beret” is also not over yet and in some time we will see this work in a new quality or attribution.